Tesla China prevails in Model 3 “brake failure” protester lawsuit.

Tesla China has won its first trial in a lawsuit against a Model 3 owner who staged a protest at the 2021 Shanghai Auto Show. Ms. Zhang, the owner in question, was ordered by the Shanghai Qingpu District People’s Court to apologize to Tesla and pay RMB 172,275 in damages. During the auto show, Ms. Zhang climbed atop a Model 3 and alleged that Tesla’s vehicles were faulty, wearing a shirt that read “Brake Failure.”

This attracted international media attention, with critics using it as evidence of Tesla’s flaws. Ms. Zhang’s father was involved in a collision while driving a Model 3 in April 2021, and she claimed it was due to brake issues. However, a police investigation found that the driver was responsible for the incident, as he failed to maintain a safe distance.

Ms. Zhang continued to allege a brake failure, despite not presenting any evidence to support her claims. At trial, Ms. Zhang admitted that her claims were subjective and did not apply for a judicial appraisal of the vehicle’s brakes. The court found that her actions were deliberately intended to discredit Tesla Shanghai and lacked an objective basis.

Tesla’s complaint against her protest as defamation due to a lack of evidence was upheld by the court, which also rejected Ms. Zhang’s defense of not being subjectively at fault. With this trial win, Tesla China’s three-year-old lawsuit against Ms. Zhang has seen a notable development.

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